A sweepstakes that included at least three directors appears to be coming to a close, with Craig Gillespie the man who will likely sit behind the camera. Sources say that after the studio met with and contemplated a number of directors, the parties on Friday began entering negotiations for Gillespie to take the reins.The director is most famous for the 2007 off-kilter romantic comedy "Lars and the Real Girl (which was eerie in a whole different way). He also directed the wacky dysfunctional-family/romantic comedy "Mr. Woodcock" starring Billy Bob Thornton. Gillespie also has a relationship with DreamWorks principal Steven Spielberg via "The United States of Tara," the Showtime series that DreamWorks Television produced and on which Gillespie has served as director and producer.
Marti Noxon, a veteran of shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," has been writing the screenplay for "Fright Night," and producing powerhouse Michael De Luca is among the producers on the new film, along with Alison Rosenzweig. (Incidentally, Tom Holland, a journeyman horror writer and director, directed the first movie, which starred Chris Sarandon and Amanda Bearse.)
For the uninitiated, "Fright Night" was a sleeper hit back in 1985, employing comedy and a kind of meta-horror aspect (lead character is a fan of horror films, then gets caught up in one himself) that predated the "Scream" phenomenon by a full decade. The reboot from DreamWorks fits in with other horror remakes, like last year's "Friday the 13th" and the upcoming "Nightmare on Elm Street."
The central premise also rests on another idea currently in vogue at practically every studio around town: The main character discovers his neighbors are vampires. "Twilight," your influence is wide and deep.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Fright Night. Credit: Columbia Pictures.